How Do You Wire Solar Panels To A Battery?

The Most Comprehensive DIY Solar Panel GuideQuestion: I know solar energy systems use arrays of batteries to store the sun’s energy for later use, but I’m not sure how they are hooked up. How do you wire solar panels to a battery?

Answer:
The two important types of wiring systems are series or parallel wiring. To wire two devices in series, you connect the positive terminal of one to the negative terminal of another. In series wiring voltage is additive while current is constant.

To wire two devices in parallel, you connect the positive terminal of one to the positive terminal of another, as well as the negative terminal of one to the negative terminal of another. In parallel wiring voltage is constant while current is additive.

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Voltage multiplied by current equals power. When you are shopping for a solar system, you will first have to decide on a voltage. Typical solar energy systems are 12, 24 or 48 volts.

When connecting your solar panels to your batteries, you need to make sure the voltage of your panels matches the voltage of your batteries. Batteries usually come in 4, 8 and 12 volt varieties. So using either series or parallel wiring (or a combination of both) you can easily create a battery array that matches your solar panel voltage.

To physically connect the two devices, simply connect the positive wire of your solar panel to the positive terminal of your battery, and the negative wire of your solar panel to the negative terminal of your battery.

If your system is over 12 volts, it is recommend you also wire a diode in between the solar panel and batter array, to prevent current from flowing back into the panels when the sun is down and the batteries are charged. The diode can be installed on the wire connecting the two negative terminals.

Fortunately solar energy systems are available as DIY projects for the fix-it-yourself consumer, and these kits help you determine the correct voltage and current settings based on your needs, as well as cut back on initial costs.

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